Tuesday’s Action: McKinley mounts Lartigue challenge
The Willie Mullins trained McKinley will be looking to continue his winning run at Listowel, in what looks like a wide open renewal of the Lartigue Hurdle. Mullins’ charge, a winner on the flat for Paul Hickey last year, took time to adapt to his new career over timber under the champion trainer but got off the mark at Sligo two starts ago and quickly followed that up with a slick victory at the Galway Festival.
The Gigginstown recruit’s jumping has improved no end with each start and he has shown that he has plenty of pace when required, something that will be of assistance at this track. He will also have the able assistance of top 5lb claimer in today’s showpiece, a fact that may just swing a cagey affair in his favour.
Mullins, who was victorious in this race in 2008 and 2009, will also be represented by Tramore maiden winner Wood Breizh who will be looking to bounce back from a poor effort at Down Royal. He will have the assistance of Paul Townend in the saddle and although he is a pretty consistent type, may struggle at this kind of level.
Denis Hogan’s Ridestan looks like the main danger to Mullins’ first string, although he will have to reverse the form of the Galway race in which he finished 2 1/4 lengths behind. Hogan’s yard is in fine fettle at the minute and a reversal of form would be no surprise but he may be more suited by a step up in trip some time soon given the way he stayed on gamely up the Galway hill.
A.P McCoy takes the ride on the very interesting Shutter Island, who is another looking to rack up a three timer. Charles O’Brien’s son of Jeremy was an extremely impressive maiden winner at Roscommon back in June and followed that up with a battling victory at Ballinrobe, where he seen off the highly regarded Lindenhurst. Interestingly, the blinkers are called on for the first time today and if they can bring about more improvement, he should also be involved in what promises to be a close finish.
Recent winners Elishpour and Landau are bound to run big races, as should the talented Indian Icon who is better than his Galway Hurdle flop suggests. ORGILGO BAY, though, in my opinion, may just prove hard to beat if getting a soft lead. John McConnell’s speedster has the ability to run his rivals into the ground from the front, as he showed in the Fred Winter and if he can defy a lump of weight, he holds strong claims with Kevin Sexton’s 3lb claim.
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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